FAQs About Xenopus laevis,
African Clawed Frog Disease Treatments
FAQs on Xenopus Disease:
Xenopus Disease 1,
Xenopus Health 2,
Xenopus Health 3,
Xenopus Health 4, Xenopus
FAQs on Xenopus Disease by Category:
Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal),
Keeping African Clawed Frogs and African Dwarf
Xenopus in General,
Xenopus Reproduction, &
Frogs Other Than African and Clawed,
African Dwarf Frogs,
Not metal solutions used for fishes.
My Albino frog (condition not mentioned)
hi, i have had my albino frog for quite some time buying it when it was hardly
any bigger than a Congo frog, It has grown within a Large Community Tank 320L
(im from UK so don't use Gallons) and now is what i expect Full Size taking up
the most of palm of hand However within the past week i have noticed -kind of
hard not to.
That One of its eyes has became Swollen and Red, As if
it had gotten some sort of Black eye, however at first thought i thought perhaps
it had a run in with one of my Catfish, but as the days passed its mouth seemed
to be forced Open and i see a large Red ~Something~ Only be described as some
sort of Growth and it shows no signs of Stopping and only getting Worse, The Red
Growth is only on one side of the mouth and Seems to be under the Eye as well.
Looks like it might be a clump of Red Flesh but i fear it could be a tumor and a
Death Sentence to the frog. i don't really have another Aquarium set up suitable
for the frog without Risking others or himself being Eaten. If there is anything
i can do to Improve his/her Condition i would greatly like to know as i can find
little on the internet.
If worse turns to worst and indeed there is nothing i can do, Perhaps there is
something i can do to make its Last days as comfortable as possible.
It might be worth a note to mention that all my Fish both Scaled and those
without scales are Healthy and fine, Water Conditions are also more than
Satisfactory and there is no Problems with other Tankmates.....Plus there is
nothing missing from my tank so he hasn't Eaten someone bigger than he can chew.
i Greatly look forward to hearing back Your Opinions and Feedback, Thanks for
listening (Reading).....Lee H.
<Hello Lee. The short answer is that medicating aquatic frogs is somewhat
difficult, and the best/most reliable approach is to use antibiotics. A vet will
be the easiest source of these, which is awkward I know, but in the UK, the only
legal way to obtain antibiotics. Your frog would appear to have an opportunistic
bacterial infection, often referred to as Red Leg.
This is invariably fatal unless promptly treated with antibiotics such as
tetracycline. A vet will provide you with details on dosing, etc. Expect to pay
around £15-30 for treatment, which may include injections (the best way to
deliver drugs) rather than stuff you add to the water (a pretty hopeless method
in serious cases). The RSPCA and PDSA may also be able to help, and speaking
with people in your local reptile pet club or store may provide some tips on
vets able to provide useful support. To be clear: there are NO reliable
off-the-shelf medications sold in pet stores, which is why prevention of disease
in amphibians is so important. Mixing frogs with fish invariably goes wrong
eventually, and while it's hard to say what the immediate cause of your problems
was, damage by a catfish or some other spiny aquarium resident is one
possibility, even when the frogs aren't kept with predatory or aggressive
fishes. Cheers, Neale.>
help needed with African frog
I have two African Clawed Frogs in a 40 litre
aquarium. They were doing very well and cohabitated
peacefully with the other inhabitants of the tank. Recently I
noticed that one of the frogs was suffering from a swollen leg.
The swelling is in the "ankle" area just before the
webbed feet. The webbing seems okay but the affected area has
become dark black.
The frog is not moving much, preferring to hover near the surface of
the water and seems to have difficulty in moving that particular
leg. He is eating normally, but not moving much. The temperature
of the water is 78 degree Fahrenheit and I carry out water changes
regularly. The other frog seems to be in good health. Can
you give me some advice as to how to treat this problem? Thank
you very much.
<Hello Donald. Do have a read of this page, here:
Redness and swelling of the limbs is dangerous, and difficult to treat
without antibiotics. It's a bacterial infection, but triggered by
environmental conditions, so review and act accordingly.
Re: help needed with African frog
Just wanted to thank you for finding the time to write back with your
valuable advice. The frog's leg is slowly getting better day by
Thanks a lot!
<Glad the help was useful. Good luck, and thanks for the kind
African Claw Frog tumour?
My two year old albino ACF has suddenly developed a lump under the skin
at the top of his leg, just down and across from his bottom.
He appears to be his normal self, feeding and swimming without any
difficulty and the lump doesn't appear to have changed at all in
the last couple of days and he is not bloated or discoloured in any
way. I feed him
every other day on a mixed diet of frozen thawed red/white mosquito
larvae, Artemia, daphnia etc, live mini meal worms and dried fish
<Sounds a good variety of foods.>
Is this likely to be a tumour or some sort of bowel blockage?
<If the swelling is in the limbs, then yes, a tumour of some sort,
benign or otherwise, is likely. Abdominal swelling caused by
constipation is usually very obviously such, and constipated animals
tend not to want to
eat much. The use of Epsom salt and live daphnia or live brine shrimp
will usually shift constipation. But tumours are virtually impossible
Fortunately, they're quite rare, and if they don't obstruct a
sense organ or orifice, shouldn't cause the frog any undue harm.
With luck, the tumour may subside in time. In the meantime, do review
basic living conditions, in particular things likely to promote tumour
formation -- water quality, lack of vitamins, chlorine in the tap
water, use of copper, etc.>
Many thanks in anticipation for your advice.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: African Claw Frog tumour? 6/13/2011
Many thanks for your reply Neale, it is very much appreciated. Since
posting my message, my frog has allowed me a better opportunity to get
a really good look close up at the lump and it is in fact where I can
best describe as directly over his right bum cheek (were he to have
one!) I can say with some certainty that it is not in his leg. His
stomach and the rest of his body is not bloated and I have watched him
eat both the frozen food and the live with his usual vigour in the last
few days but the lump has not passed nor changed in size/shape.
My husband is firmly in charge of keeping the tank in tip top condition
and I am confident this is all at the correct level. It really is
baffling and I feel rather helpless and very worried about my little
<Sorry I can't offer anything more concrete to guide you to a
If you Google terms such as "tumour" with "Xenopus"
you'll see that such things are commonly investigated in
laboratories, Xenopus laevis being one of the classic lab animals.
Tumours may be genetic, but they can also be caused by exposure to
heavy metals (for example copper) and various other chemicals that are
toxic rather than immediately fatal. Vets can remove tumours depending
on where they're located on the animal, and when performed
properly, the frog can go on to enjoy a long and happy life.
Re: African Claw Frog tumour? 6/16/11
That's all noted, many thanks for your advice Neale.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
African clawed frog swimming strangely and discolored
My son has a ACF that seems to be taking a turn.
It has been healthy and fine, to this point, but I did notice it was
turning a darker green color in blotches, rather than staying it's
pretty light green color.
<This tends to be a reaction to poor environmental conditions.
Essentially a bacterial infection. Can be treated with antibiotics,
e.g., Maracyn II (Minocycline) and Maracyn Plus (Sulfadimidine and
Trimethoprin, but best avoided.>
It lives with two other fish and a snail, and we change out the water
by 2/3 weekly.
<Actually, these frogs should never be kept with fish. Whatever
habitat you keep them in should be adequately large, maintained at
around room temperature (rather than tropical temperatures) and ALWAYS
filtered. Changing water instead of filtering just doesn't work. Do
see here for the basics:
We have floating plants for the bowl. The frog is swimming in a
twisting motion, and then stops and just floats.
Sometimes it seems to stay slight twisted almost upside down. This
appears to be different behavior than we have seen to this point (one
<You see, it takes about a month for things to go wrong.>
I have removed it from the big tank and put it alone with a bit of
shrimp in water that has been dechlorinated to see ---I am not sure to
Is it dying or is there something I can do for it to try to save
<Maybe not at death's door, but certainly severely stressed.
Review the conditions in the tank. It needs a tank at least 10 gallons
in size (ideally twice that for an adult) at about 15-20 degrees C in
and filtered with a good, strong filter. A small internal canister
filter would be ideal.>
Thank you. Susan
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African clawed frog swimming strangely and discolored
Thank you, Neale...
<Happy to help.>
I am not sure how the Pet Stores stay in biz. ugh
<I look at it this way: A sales clerk wouldn't stop himself
selling me a ghastly pair of yellow trousers with pink polka dots.
<<Hey! I bought those!! Heeee! RMF>>
It's up to me to make an appropriate choice. So with a pet shop:
They'll sell any animal to
anyone who pays the money, regardless of the ability of that person to
keep that animal. Yes, I agree, the *ethics* is totally different,
since it's an animal we're talking about, an animal that can
suffer in various ways. But so long as the law doesn't enforce some
sort of ethical dimension, it's up to us to make sure we research
the needs of those animals prior to purchasing them. I do my best to
help people *after the event*, but
often-times that isn't much good, perhaps because the animal is too
far gone, or else because my correspondent doesn't have the funds
or space to house the animal properly. It's a thorny problem, I
Two ACF's with red sores 4/28/09
Hello, my question is concerning my two African clawed frogs. One is a
male who is 4 or 5 years old, the other a female who is about 3 years
old. They live in a 20 gallon long tank. They have Whisper internal
filter 20 to 30 gallons, a heater and a cave. No bottom substrate at
<All sounds good.>
Apart from my male getting something that made him shed three times a
day last year, which was easily cleared up, neither has been sick until
know. About 4 weeks ago I noticed the female had a red eye and lip and
was swimming incredibly crooked. She still had quite an appetite. So I
treated the tank with salt and
Fungus Clear, which is what the guy at my local pet store said would
<Salt is sometimes used with Xenopus to reduce swelling, and
sometimes alongside the appropriate medications. But in this instance,
it doesn't sound as if your frogs have fungus. Fungal infections
are very distinctive: white, fluffy patches on the body. The standard
treatment is Mardel MarOxy.
For bacterial infections -- what I suspect your frogs are dealing with
-- either Maracyn II or Maracyn Plus are recommended.>
He also said to treat them both as the male would likely get it too.
After two weeks of treating, water changes and the female going crazy
and jumping out when I opened the lid, she seemed to be better. (I
learned to not open the lid unless she was in her cave). No more red
anywhere on her body, but she still wasn't swimming too great. So I
continued the treatment for 3 more days. her swimming wasn't
getting any better, nor was it getting any worse. She was still eating
fine. All levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, PH were good.
<Meaning 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and a steady pH between 7.5 and 8?
Xenopus do need hard, alkaline water to do well.>
None of them spiked during treatment. Everything was fine an dandy for
a few days when I noticed the male had a red sore about the size of my
pinky nail in the center of his belly. His front toes are reddish, but
not too bad and the tip of his snout is red. The rest of his belly is
perfectly creamy white, as are his legs. He is
swimming fine and eating fine
<It does sound like a bacterial infection, something like Red Leg.
This is an opportunistic bacterial infection caused by Aeromonas,
equivalent to Finrot in fish.>
I started the treatment again last night. 1 tablespoons of aquarium
salt per 3 gallons of water, 2 tablets Fungus Clear and a water change
every 3 days. No carbon in the filter so I'm not feeding them as
much because I don't want the ammonia to spike. There is no ammonia
as of midnight last night. PH, Nitrite, Nitrate and all that good stuff
is perfect. I have been treating them again for 3 days and the male
doesn't seem to be getting any better. Not worse and it isn't
spreading, but not better.
<Well, the fungus medication isn't helping and you should be
using an anti-bacterial treatment instead.>
Do you have any suggestions at all that could possibly help? The
treatment only seems to be keeping the infections at bay, not getting
rid of them.
Any other medications I could try?
<Weirdly, I'd just finished writing a whole piece about aquatic
frogs for WWM, so if you stop back in the next day or two, you should
see something come up on the New Articles page, here:
In the meantime, treat with antibacterial medications as explained, and
as with Finrot, review possible triggering factors: water quality,
physical damage, rough handling. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Two ACF's with red sores 06/03/09
Thank you for your quick reply. I don't know what was up with
the male, but before I got to treat him he shed his skin and the
sore was gone.
<It is often the case that healthy animals get better of their
own accord; at least some of the time, optimal water quality and
diet are the key things, and medication helps more in preventing
infection, rather than fixing whatever is immediately and
But darn it the female did not get better. Her eye cleared up and
the redness on her lip lessened, but her other eye went cloudy
and she developed a sore on the other side of her lip. She lost
her appetite and
hasn't eaten in three weeks. I treated her with Maracyn TC
everyday for two weeks, but she didn't get any better. I
isolated her this morning in her own ten gallon with a filter. I
noticed her legs were twitching. This only lasted a few seconds
immediately after I put her in the tank and then she stopped and
hasn't done it since. I noticed she has had a little trouble
reaching the surface.
<Do lower the water so she can "stand" up if needs
Her legs look fine. I have attached some pictures of her. She
doesn't appear to be in pain, but since she is a frog I guess
it is kind of hard to tell if she is or not.
<Doesn't look irredeemable at all... would switch to a
different antibiotic if Maracyn TC (which is a Tetracycline) to
perhaps Furanace (a Nitrofuran) or Maracyn Plus (Sulfadimidine
Are there any stronger antibiotics I can give her? I am willing
to try to get some antibiotics down her throat if it would help
her. What about medicated foods?
<If she'll eat them; it is certainly true that orally
administered drugs work much better than those added to
Thank you very much.
<Do have a read here:
It's a bit technical, but the table at the end will help you
shopping, and the sections of how to use antibiotics is very
Here is a video of her swimming, maybe it will help.
<She looks quite strong and still a good weight; I'd
expect good results, once you've used the right drug. Cheers,
Re: Euthanizing Xenopus, now salt form. with
frogs 2/15/09 Dr. Monks, I wonder if I can
ask an unrelated follow up? In my 55g frog tank I have two Apple Snails
that are showing REALLY poor shell growth. You once recommended a
Malawi Salt mix recipe for some snails I had in another tank. Can I use
this in the frog tank, or will it hurt them? Thanks again. Laura <Hi
Laura. Used as indicated, Malawi Salt mix will do snails no harm at
all. It is important that the carbonate hardness is reasonably high
when keeping Apple Snails otherwise, as you've probably observed,
they develop thin, brittle, discoloured shells with lots of pitting.
Re: Euthanizing Xenopus 2/16/08 Thank you. Um
I wasn't worried about it hurting the snails, sir. I was wondering
if it would hurt their Xenopus tankmates? Thanks again. Laura
<Laura, quite right, and I knew that. Forgive my confusing
mistyping. Snails, frogs alike should be fine with the Malawi salt mix
used as directed. In fact Xenopus laevis come from naturally hard
waters in South Africa, and there's some lab work to indicate
raising hardness increases reproductive success. A quick Google search
of Xenopus and hardness will reveal more. Cheers, Neale.>
Euthanizing Xenopus 2/15/09
Hello crew, I have a Xenopus froglet that has what appears to be a very
painful condition. I've included pictures. He is currently in a
hospital tank with a dose of Maracyn. His condition has been unchanged
for several hours. He's not eating. Actually I can't say for
sure when was the last time he ate, because up until this morning
he's been in a 55G with 5 brothers and sisters. However, I can say
that up until this morning he was swimming and behaving normally
otherwise. A few days ago I noticed that his tummy looked swollen and
hard and his legs looked unusually skinny, but since everything else
seemed ok, I just kept an eye on him. This morning I noticed what, at
the time, appeared to be a small scrape on his side and decided to move
him to a hospital tank for treatment. Seconds before catching him, I
looked for him and noticed nothing out of the ordinary except, of
course, his still swollen belly. I placed a large plastic cup in the
tank and gently encouraged him to swim into it. This was much easier
than I had expected. Then transported him, in the cup, to the Q Tank.
At no time, did I net or handle the frog directly. Upon placing him in
the Q Tank, I immediately noticed the protrusion. At any rate, I
don't think it's looking too good for the little guy and would
like to minimize his suffering if possible. So, I read the article
about Euthanising fish, very informative, but I have a question. If I
were to use the clove oil method for a frog would it be the same
painless process? I ask because the frogs have to surface to breathe,
and drowning doesn't seem to me to be an easy passing. Thanks, as
always, for your input. Laura <Hello Laura. Methods for euthanising
amphibians are not the same as those for euthanising fish. Unlike fish,
amphibians breathe air, and also unlike fish, they respire across their
skin rather than via their gills. In addition, amphibians are able to
tolerate much longer periods without oxygen than fish, so any methods
that rely on suffocation, such as the use of Clove Oil, won't work.
By far the best way to euthanise an amphibian -- and the only one I
will recommend -- is having a vet do the job for you. In terms of
background reading, I'd point you to two scientific commentaries on
the subject at the links below. Both of these describe appropriate
methods for painlessly destroying amphibians. If you choose the
euthanise your amphibian at home, you may still need to contact a vet
to get hold of the required chemical(s) and to discuss appropriate
dosages and methods.
amphibians don't move their gills and generally show less activity
than fish, it is critically important to follow these verified methods
to the letter. With fish it's pretty obvious when it's dead,
but this isn't true with amphibians (or indeed reptiles). Cheers,
Re: Euthanizing Xenopus 2/15/09 Thanks, Dr.
Monks. Laura <Hello Laura. Happy to help. Cheers,
F/U Euthanizing Xenopus 2/25/09
Dr. Monks and Crew, I wanted to thank you for your help with my little
froggie, and share some interesting information. As you suggested, I
took the frog to an exotic pet vet for euthanasia, the day after our
original correspondence. The vet said the frog had spina-bifida. Just
some random, natural developmental problem. So the frog's in a
better place, and I learned something new. Anyway, thanks again. Laura
<I've learned something new, too. Thanks for the update. We
often make reference here to genetic and growth issues that can effect
fish, but actually putting names to a particular syndrome is something
I'm not able to do. So this information is very useful. Cheers,
Sick Albino Clawed Frog? 5/14/07 Hey
there I have an Albino Clawed frog in my tank with a few fish and two
snails. The snails and filter help keep the tank rather clean and
it's a newer tank. I know the Clawed frog is going to get big
enough to eat the fish but for now he's just a little baby. (Barely
larger around than a quarter). Anyway... the last couple days I've
been noticing his belly is looking a little swollen on one side. Then I
woke up today and it's -huge- (bigger than his head). It seemed to
blow up from just slight swelling... where I wasn't sure if it was
actually swollen or if it was just distortion from the angle I was
looking at him at. (He moves around a lot and it's hard to get a
good look at him!) Today he's just hanging right at the top of the
tank and man it's big. I've looked at several pictures of
Albinos with dropsy and it doesn't look like dropsy. I wish I could
get you a picture but no digital cam... it's only on his left side
so I'm thinking blockage. I read a post where someone had a similar
problem and you suggested a teaspoon of Epsom salt per 10 gallons.
I'm wanting to try this, in fact I have my Epsom salt and teaspoon
on hand and ready!!... But I'm worried that this may hurt my
snails. Should I take my snails out of this tank and put them in the
other tank before I try to salt the water? Thanks! Erin in Arkansas
< Your frog has eaten an item that is being broken down by bacteria
and not being digested by the frog's stomach juices. As the
bacteria break down the food item they generate gas and expand the
abdomen of the frog. In fish we use a medication used on Protozoans
that may work with your frog. Try some Metronidazole found at some fish
stores or can be found online. I have not heard of Epsom salts being
used on frogs but they can tolerate some salts in the water so I would
give it a try but I don't think it will be effective.-Chuck>
Bloated African clawed water frog 5/8/06 Hello: I appreciate
any help you could give me. I have a 15-16 year old African clawed
water frog named May. <This is an unbelievably "ripe old
age" for Xenopus> She is 6 to 8 inches long. She has been very
hardy and healthy. I have never done anything special for her. She eats
ReptoMin pellets. That's all she has ever eaten except when I once
made the mistake of putting goldfish in her tank. She has lived through
several near disasters. I haven't been diligent about cleaning her
water. She has tolerated the lack of good care all of these years. Now
she is bloated horribly. But she acts normal, still wants to eat, moves
around, comes up to the surface. She has been bloating slowly for
several months, maybe up to six months. I have had personal crises so I
haven't been able to focus on her. I have read online that I could
maybe use Maracyn 2, maybe aquatic salt, MelaFix, stress coat. Her
water had a lot of "stuff" on top of the surface recently. My
daughter recycled her water, using Genesis in the tap water she added.
We have always used Genesis to remove the chlorine. What is the best
way to treat May? <... I'd go with the Minocycline... the
Maracyn2 product> How much longer can I expect her to live? We have
never used soap to clean her tank, but is there something I can use to
disinfect it since she might be suffering from some bacteria? <Mmm,
best to just use clean water, rock salt...> If I use Maracyn, how do
I know what dose and how long to treat her? Thank you for any help.
Maria C. <Three treatments, change water and re-administer every
three days. Bob Fenner>
Amphibian Ailments (4/2/2004) Hi
your site was suggested to me by a rep a pet land. <A well informed
pet store employee> I have 2 African albino clawed frogs and one of
them seems to have some thing wrong with its foot. It looks like
skin is peeling off, or shedding. Its also blood shot. <Could be
bacterial or fungal...is there any "fuzziness" or anything
indicative of a fungal infection, or is it more red and swollen,
possibly indicative of a bacterial infection? As a side note, do check
your ammonia levels, and I assume you are not using chlorinated
water?> I at first thought that it might of hurt it self or the
other frog bit it. But today it looks a little better. But now if you
look at it, you can see the bones on the foot. <Not good. Does it
appear to be spreading? Any red\swollen skin or any red "blood
poisoning" obvious in the legs\blood vessels? Frogs of this
species are especially susceptible to "Septicemia"> Would
you guys have a idea as to what it could be? The guy at Petland thought
that it might be a fungal infection, but the other frogs seem ok.
<Probably bacterial (Septicemia), a nasty and all to common
infection of these animals.> If you can email me back at * I'd
be grateful. <Try treating the frog with 'Triple Sulfa' by
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals or Tetracycline (available from Kordon and
other vendors, shouldn't be hard to find at your local pet store).
Do this in a separate container of tank water or a quarantine tank.
Dose appropriately and make sure to keep the water heated. If you
don't notice any improvements in 4-5 days, do send me another
email, along with the aquarium size, tankmates, and a picture of the
frog if possible> Thanks <No problem, let me know if your frog
doesn't improve in health in a few days. M. Maddox>
Frogs and drugs (no toad licking
here) Hi, I just treated my freshwater tank for what appears to be
velvet. I bought Greenex to treat the tank. I have an African Albino
Clawed Frog in there that reacted badly to this. Am I going to lose the
frog due to using this product? Thanks, Lynn <wow... I must admit
that is doesn't look good for the frog. Do remove it from the tank
or the medication from the water immediately (water changes and
carbon). Medications that include metals (like copper) or organic dyes
should never be used on invertebrates or scaleless animals (including
some fish). The frog was indeed overdosed... but don't give up,
please. They are hardy. Fresh water ASAP. Best regards,
Re: frogs Anthony, Thanks for
your reply. The frog was dead by morning : ( I sure felt bad. The rest
of the fish are dropping like flies. I wish that I had gone on line
before I bought the Greenex. The product said it was safe, HA! Now I am
just trying to save as many of the fish as I can. Thanks, Lynn
<alas... sorry for the loss too. Some such meds are not necessarily
bad, but rather cure or kill remedies. For virulent infections they may
be called upon. I personally do not care for this medication in most
applications, but many fine aquarists have had very favorable results
with it. I do not recall the manufacturers warning to know if it
considers invertebrates, amphibians and the like. I suspect it must
mention scaleless fishes/animals though. Best regards,